City Council inaugurates new bylaw for short-term housing in Belleville

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A new bylaw approved by city council on Monday will help city officials crack down on wandering landlords who rent out short-term accommodation without the city’s knowledge for less than 30 days to visitors.

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The new regulations will enforce a set of regulations governing the licensing and operation of short-term accommodation (STA) operations in Belleville.

The new regulation does not apply to rental leases longer than 30 days that fall under the Landlords and Tenants Act.

Mayor Mitch Panciuk noted the distinction in council to clarify any confusion about the bylaw.

He described STA operators as innkeepers who accommodate visitors who rent rooms as they cross town versus landlords who rent houses for long-term residents.

Chief among the new rules will be the requirement that every STA owner in the city obtain a license to operate from the City of Belleville by filing a detailed application for approval by city staff.

The application will outline all aspects of the property, including fire code equipment, insurance coverage of at least $2 million, and agent or landlord insurances available to clients within 60 minutes in an emergency at any time.

The new bylaw also ensures there will be no more than 150 temporary rental units in the city at any one time, but that number could change in the future, City Clerk Matt MacDonald told council.

MacDonald also told the council that existing bed and breakfast businesses and STAs that are currently registered with the city will not have to pay the first $1,000 registration fee to the city, but will have to pay the annual renewal fee of $300 each year.

Short-term accommodation was originally due to have until March 31 to obtain a license, but the city council accepted an amendment pushing back the deadline to April 30.

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Council has accepted a second by-law amendment excluding properties in the Downtown Belleville BIA from a 100-meter setback provision that will require all other STA properties in the municipality to be at least the same distance from another property of the STA.

The new regulations also set out other conditions in order to comply with the new STA rules.

“The license holder is responsible for maintaining the amenity and parking areas and ensuring that customers use only the areas designated in the approved license,” the regulations state.

“The license does not permit the use of short-term accommodation accommodation for the hosting of events such as weddings or receptions or any other similar group activity.”

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